By Dick Downey
March laid off a fast pace and just got up to edge Cinco Charlie by a nose in the Woody Stephens Stakes.
The Chad Brown trainee was timed in a quick 1:21.37 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Ready for Rye, who set the pace just ahead of Cinco Charlie going into the stretch, lasted for third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, after setting fractions of 22.22 and 45.04. Classy Class, Two Weeks Off and 2-5 favorite Competitive Edge rounded out the field of six.
March, a son of Blame out of the Unbridled's Song mare, Lifeinthefastlane, improved his record to three wins in five starts with a second.
Owned by Robert LaPenta, March was bred in Kentucky by Lakland Farm.
Chad Brown: "Irad rode a perfect race. This horse had been training really well, and we've figured out a few things about this horse. Obviously, the distance - he's a come-from-behind sprinter - and he runs really well fresh. He came off a layoff in the Bay Shore, and he ran so well we figured 'You know, let's just give him another layoff into the big race.' When it came up tough, we were really just hoping to grab a piece of it, and like races often can on big racing days, when they broke, everything changed. We were in a great spot, and our horse showed up."
Irad Ortiz, Jr.: "Last time I liked the way he ran in the sprint race [Bay Shore]. Today he broke a little more sharp, so we were a little closer. I just left him there, I don't fight with him too much. When we got to the stretch he took off. He was ready, the trainer did a great job."
Todd Pletcher: "He didn't seem to fire and I have no good explanation for it. He was undefeated coming in and tasted defeat today. We'll regroup."
John Velazquez: "He didn't try very much at all. That's it. I was in tight, but it didn't really matter. I couldn't hold my position."